Can Web 3 solve the core paradox of the Internet?

Can Web 3 solve the core paradox of the Internet?

The centralization problem of blockchain decentralization cannot be solved by Buterin.

At the beginning of 2022, the cryptocurrency market turned down due to the suspicion of the Fed raising interest rates, and Bitcoin fell to the $40,000 mark. Although the currency price has fallen, the NFT market that has been lively for a year is still hot, and Jay Chou also launched related NFTs and was hotly robbed.

When the square dance aunts are asking what NFT and DAO are, it has proved how out of the circle the blockchain industry is. However, when practitioners promote decentralization under the banner of Web 3, some people find that something is not quite right.

Foreign netizen Moxie, through a small experiment on OpenSea, the world’s most popular NFT trading platform, found that some Web 3 applications that have reached the most people actually hardly use encryption technology themselves. More importantly, these applications are very dependent on Behind several centralized blockchain infrastructure companies—the Web 3 that advertises decentralization, the shadow of a centralized crisis gradually emerges.

Web 3 applications, less “decentralized”

What exactly is NFT? Although encryption industry enthusiasts often joke that they “bought a bunch of JPGs”, in fact, these pictures/video contents are not actually stored on the chain in code form – the cost is too high. Almost all NFTs contain a URL link that will specify the displayed content.

Moxie found that on well-known NFT platforms, NFT artworks sold for millions or even tens of millions of dollars, behind which the link to the content can be specified, did not use encryption technology, but pointed to some virtual machines. This means that anyone who buys or hacks into this virtual machine in the future can modify the image, name, description and other information pointed to by this NFT. Because the parameters of the NFT do not say what the picture is, or what the “correct” picture is.

Since the virtual machine can display different images according to different IPs and proxies, Moxie did such an experiment on NFT: uploading artistic-looking pictures on the well-known NFT trading platforms OpenSea and Rarible, and when users After purchasing, what you see in your cryptocurrency wallet is a “poo” emoji picture.

Can Web 3 solve the core paradox of the Internet?

(From left to right) Images of Moxie’s NFTs in OpenSea, Rarible, and crypto wallets

Interestingly, Moxie’s work was removed from the store shortly after it was released as “violating the rules”. Even if you carefully browsed all the rules of this NFT trading website, there is no one saying that the display of NFT cannot be changed according to the IP. .

If you just accuse OpenSea of ​​”bullying customers”, then Moxie’s article will be of little significance. After all, OpenSea in the entire encryption circle is ridiculed by people as “wearing a Web 3 coat because it accepts traditional institutional investment and does not send airdrops.” Web 2″.

What is really intriguing is that when OpenSea delisted Moxie’s works, he found that his NFT works disappeared in his encrypted wallet MetaMask. But this should not be, because Moxie’s NFT works have been “mint” (minted, that is, registered in the Ethereum network) into the Ethereum network, and the latter cannot be eliminated.

Compared with the mistakes of OpenSea, the disappearance of NFTs in MetaMask can better reveal a deep problem in the current Web 3 industry, that is, dApps (blockchain applications) that are advertised as decentralized, in fact, have no ability to directly communicate with the blockchain. Instead, it uses the APIs of several large blockchain “infrastructure” companies.

Take the MetaMask encrypted wallet as an example, although it can display your cryptocurrency balance, exchange cryptocurrency and recharge, and display the NFT works owned by users, these actions are actually done through the API of large blockchain companies: transaction record calls It is the API of the Ethereum address query website EtherScan, the account balance calls the API of Infura, and the NFT display uses the API of OpenSea.

The reason is that super dApps like MetaMask with more than 80 million users around the world are usually used in mobile phones and web browsers. They are not nodes of the blockchain themselves and cannot be directly associated with the blockchain. It’s not that you don’t want to, but simply cannot. Therefore, when OpenSea removes the NFT works, the encrypted wallet does not have the NFT by default because the response of the API query feedback is “No”.

This is the paradoxical scene in the article. You clearly know that your assets are on the chain, but the most common cryptocurrency clients cannot show their existence. It’s like you know you have an email, but the Gmail client just doesn’t show it, so does the email still exist?

The Eternal Paradox of Platforms and Protocols

Moxie’s article doesn’t just stop at the level of “sarcasm” dApps. On the contrary, he believes that the problem of MetaMask, or Web 3, which it represents, is actually a paradox that runs through the history of Internet development – a technical protocol must be used by people to the greatest extent possible. , will inevitably lead to the emergence of a centralized platform, because only the latter can make the product simple and easy to use through continuous iteration, so that more people can use it.

The iteration speed of platform technology and products is always far ahead of the protocol. Email is the best example. When the email protocol appeared, only a few geeks built their own servers and email addresses, and more people actually used Yahoo and later Gmail. Because even though it’s very simple, people still don’t and don’t want to build their own servers. Using the portal’s mailbox is simple and free, so why not? The end result is the rise of portals.

Can Web 3 solve the core paradox of the Internet?

The MetaMask encrypted wallet has 80 million users and is a Web 3 entrance that no one can let go

The same is true for the concept of Web 3, which represents the blockchain. Of course, you can use a PC to become a node of Ethereum (it is really not easy for ordinary users at present), and you can also transfer money through the official wallet of Ethereum, but In addition to hardcore blockchain enthusiasts, more ordinary users will obviously choose products like big companies Coinbase, OpenSea and MetaMask. The rise of these companies is precisely the formation of new centers.

Moxie’s article went viral on Twitter and caused a great deal of repercussions in the blockchain space. Ethereum founder Vitalik (V God) also posted a response to Moxie’s “question”. Vitalik is the first to admit that the popular “centralized” blockchain applications that Moxie calls don’t even use encryption themselves, and that the underlying blockchain is too far from ordinary people.

Buterin believes that the reason for this phenomenon is mainly because people in the industry want to make some applications so that more people can use them. In this process, centralization is the fastest path.

Vitalik believes that Web 3 is still in its early stages, and in the future, the gaps in the spectrum of Web 3 from centralized (platform) to decentralized (private server) will be filled.

However, Vitalik’s speech does not fully answer Moxie’s question, because Bitcoin has been born for more than 10 years, and Ethereum has been around for more than 6 years. In addition, because it is in the early days, to promote decentralization in the form of centralization, is this really a reasonable way , and whether this will allow users to accept a “centralized” decentralized reality, after all, most of the People may use these centralized dApps from start to finish without exploring the underlying technologies and ideas of decentralization.

At the moment when NFTs and DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) are hot, Moxie’s small “experiments” and doubts may be just a small phenomenon in the ups and downs of the encryption industry. However, when people hold high the banner of Web 3 to promote decentralized technology, they should still reflect on whether the concept comes first, but the actual behavior cannot match its ultimate goal, because the development paradox that the platform is ahead of the protocol is still difficult to solve. This is especially true for the blockchain industry in a period of rapid development.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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